Tuesday, June 9, 2015

X-Men: First Class by Jeff Parker Vol. 2 issue #4

I honestly believe that I've been living for the days that I would come across heartfelt fluff like this entire series written by Jeff Parker has proven to be time and time again. Like I said, the Original Core Five of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman and Angel are becoming my new favorite version of the X-Men because Parker has portrayed them here in such a way that still has the same flavors as the Stan Lee sixties era but also more stylishly drawn (thanks to the exuberant illustrations of Roger Cruz) and more in-tune with modern sensibilities. Everything has been either heartbreakingly delightful or delightfully heartbreaking. No issue captures both qualities in the same page as this fourth issue of Volume 2.

It's spring break in the Xavier Mansion and everyone is going home except for Bobby Drake and Henry McCoy who purposefully stayed behind the school for very different reasons. Henry wants to study for their new lessons in advance (eager to impress Xavier and devour new knowledge as usual and talk about it with Xavier) while Bobby wants to have fun without superhero-ing duties on his plate. Henry suggests that they should study together but then Xavier telepathically communicates that the two youngsters should enjoy the vacation like what normal people should be doing. Encouraged by their mentor, the two guys decided to take Warren's pricey car for a spin and go on a road trip for several days.

Ah, the formulaic road trip. Who doesn't enjoy this worn-out material as long as the characters who get to be a part of the story are interesting enough to sustain the humor, adventure and insight that such a journey entails? I know I was engrossed the entire time because Henry and Bobby are probably the most unlikely pairing I could think of among the five and yet they worked so seamlessly together that I was shocked they didn't become closer friends before. Now it looks like that's bound to happen, considering they basically crossed off all the items in the list of 'road trip with your buddy'. They went to a casino to gamble, got kicked out; they went to a science exhibition thingie; petted animals, rode amusement park rides; speedboating; then camping--Bobby even taught Henry how to drive. And then they saved an entire city of people from getting hit by a tsunami using their identities as the X-Men. Overall, it was anyone could have wished for in a spontaneous road trip. Through it all, they had discussions about their classmates and whatnot, and then as they wait for the tsunami to subside while enclosed in a thick frozen igloo courtesy of Bobby, they had this quiet moment of reflection:

I certainly hope that we get to see their friendship evolve some more in the coming issues!


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